Chess Team reflects on performance at state

First in-person season since beginning of pandemic comes to close

Olivia Grefenstette, Reporter

After holding all meetings virtually last year, the Chess Team is proud of its performance this season and hopeful for next year, Charlie Cummings ‘23 said. They welcomed many new underclassmen and juniors this season. 

“[The team] feels these new additions have much to offer and will help the team perform even better next season,” Cummings said.

In preparation for sectionals and state competitions, the chess team met four times a week—playing each other, reviewing past competitions, and plugging moves in the computer to find the best strategies. In doing this, they entered state with four wins and three losses. To qualify for state, the team had to win only two matches. 

This year’s state competition was held in-person, at the Peoria Civic Center on Feb. 11-12. The team sent their top eight players, who competed in seven non-elimination rounds of 55-minute matches. There were approximately 150 teams present with strong competitors from nearby schools like Hinsdale Central and Naperville Central, Chess Team member Brian McGovern ‘23 said. 

Now meeting once a week, the team is concluding its season with possibly a few non-district competitions—meaning that the meets are independently run, not through the district in which the team competes. 

Overall, the team feels that they did better than expected at state, placing 49th, and are hopeful for next season, Cummings said.

“We’re all pretty different, but I like to think we’re pretty close,” team member William Keeley ‘22 said. “We all adore chess, and it’s most of what we talk about.” 

Keeley, Cummings, and McGovern all describe the team as a welcoming environment, where everyone gets to enjoy chess and meet new people. Anyone is welcome and encouraged to join, they said.

“Don’t wait [to join], it really is something that is going to change your life during your high school years, because it has for me,” Cummings said.